Result all that mattered in Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final for Leiston boss Richard Wilkins
Leiston manager Richard Wilkins said the semi-final of the Suffolk FA Premier Cup was all about the result.
A Christy Finch goal in the second minute gave Leiston a 1-0 victory over Needham Market at the Wardale Williams Stadium, home of AFC Sudbury, on Tuesday evening.
The win secured Leiston their first final appearance since the 2007-08 season when they lost the third of three successive finals of a competition they have never won.
Leiston had been losing semi-finalists in each of the last four seasons – three years in a row to Bury Town when Wilkins was their manager and then last season to Lowestoft Town, who went on to win the final.
It will be either Bury or Lowestoft who Leiston now face in the final, but they will have to wait to find out who their opponents will be after Wednesday evening’s second semi-final between the two teams at Bloomfields, home of Needham Market FC, was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
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Wilkins said: “Tonight was all about getting through to the final and we have done that. Obviously we can play better than we did, but we defended well.
“I am delighted for people like the chairman (Andy Crisp) and vice-chairman (Peter Mayhew) that we have reached the final after losing so many semi-finals, and we will look forward to it.”
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Wilkins said his side struggled to get to grips with the 3G surface and felt that Needham adapted better than Leiston did.
He continued: “Sometimes scoring so early has an adverse effect; the plan was to go at them from the off and be on the front foot and be positive.
“They had a lot of possession in the first half but didn’t look like they were going to score. They moved the ball around better than we did – we gave the ball away too easily as too often we looked for the killer pass – but we were better in the second half.
“They started the second half really well but Ashlee Jones has only had one shot to save as we defended well.”
Needham Market manager Mark Morsley said that there were plus points for his side despite the defeat.
He said: “I was pleased with the way we bounced back after the early mistake. We started the second half really well but then allowed them to use their experience to break the play up.
“Frustration then crept in and we picked up a couple of bookings for dissent, but if we had continued playing in the same way I felt we would have got something out of the game. However, we lacked a cutting edge and didn’t work their keeper enough.
“Fair play to Leiston – they know how we play and there are lots of ways to win a game of football.
“But we can take a lot of plus points from the game – we had seven 17-year-olds in the squad of 14, three started and four were on the bench.”